ROLLINS : Rene Thomas was a top player
and good friend who has been vastly underrated by the jazz community.
I'm glad I had a chance to know him and to play together. (Guitar
I know a Belgian guitar player that I like better
than any of the Americans I've heard.
TOOTS THIELEMANS : (Guitar
Rene Thomas is a musician among those I
will never forget. We did not play together, except sitting
in sessions. He could create a spell : mixture of mastery
and emotion. I still remember being under that spell one evening
in Canada (in the late fifties). He unpacked his faithful
Gibson, plugged into his old amp and played for half an hour
Star Eyes and I'll Remember April.
His playing remains a compulsory reference for guitarists
and music lovers "at large". Merci Rene.
LARRY CORYELL : (Guitar
I absolutely adore Rene Thomas music. I
knew him first as a man, a very nice and honest man, then
recently, late at night listening to a college radio station,
they played the entire record of Rene with Chet Baker ; I
loved it - great sound, great lines, great feeling - what
a National Treasure Rene is for the rather formidable Jazz
scene that has generated from Belgium ... I appreciate so
much that I could met him before he left us ... merci, Rene,
J't'aime ... au revoir !
DANIEL HUMAIR : (Bobby
Jaspar Quartet booklet)
One of my first real emotions playing with
a jazz group was certainly with Bobby Jaspar and Rene Thomas.
They both possessed an incredible jazz technique, sensitivity
and knowledge of the music. I always felt that they were underestimated,
surely because they were European.
SACHA DISTEL : (Guitar
Rene, my friend, my great friend, my friend
"great". Life, music, guitar. Thank you for this
fantastic concert. Hey, it must be great in heaven with Wes
and Django !
PHILIP CATHERINE : (Guitar
What a personage ! Sometimes very very
funny, with a corrosive humour. He knew how to make his guitar
sing. He created some long phrases which flowed out in wave
of successive themes that he transposed, that he triturated,
always with mastery.
JACQUES PELZER : (Guitar
To Rene Thomas. An exceptionnal musician,
with such a musicality, whom I've been so lucky to measure
and share the grandeur during about 30 years. How many imperishable
recollections ! Rene Thomas, my eternal friend.
STEPHANE GRAPELLI : (Guitar
I already knew him by his great artist
fame. I've really enjoyed this concert. Rene Thomas was a
pleasant person to live, with a wonderful sense of humour.
He had an excellent reputation with all the musicians. I think
he will remain in the Music History. His exceptionnal guitar
style has indeed contributed to improve the technique of this
JOHN LEWIS :
Story sleeve, 1962)
Rene is a Belgian, one of the best guitar
soloists I have ever heard, a virtuoso guitarist.
ZOOT SIMS : (1956)
I've not heard some revelation in Europe
recently, except a guitarist, Rene ..., I don't remember his
CHRISTIAN ESCOUDE : (Jazz Hot number
541, June 1997)
Rene Thomas was a poet of the guitar. He
left his mark upon me. He was the synthesis of Django and
Jimmy Raney's American School. It's fantastic. I've a bit
associated with him and he was a personage. I was very influenced
by his style when he heard me. It pleased him and he was proud
of that. One day, I pointed it out to him and he answered
me : You could choise worse !
JIMMY GOURLEY : (Jazz Hot nr 530,
I keep a recollection of a man having an
immense natural talent. In USA, he left his mark upon a lot
of guitarists who often talk me about him. He's an important
European musician who still influences many people.
JEAN-FRANCOIS PRINS : (Jazz Hot nr
530, May 1996)
It seems impossible to me to resume the
importance of Rene on nothing but the Belgian scene. He's
one of the rare guitarists who not only have made improved
the guitar playing but the music "at large" (like
Charlie Christian, Django, Wes Montgomery, Jim Hall ...).
It is not without good reason that Lee Konitz, Chet Baker
and Sonny Rollins, among others, have toured and recorded
PETER LEITCH : (private mail, 04/03/02)
The beautiful sound of Rene's guitar,
the intense rhythmic drive of his playing, and his total
mastery of the language of jazz are what first inspired
me to learn this music. I first heard and met Rene in 1960
or '61 in Montreal, shortly before he returned to Europe.
His music, as does all great art, transcended the instrument
and the genre.
HENK HAVERHOEK : (private mail,
Rene Thomas was a remarkable person.
He stayed a few times at our house after a gig in Germany.
I remember him eating three plates of spagetti. Sometimes
he was accompanied by his son or his daughter. I remember
very well the record date in 1974 of T.P.L. We were invited
into his house in Liege the day before. First we went
to an African restaurant, having cous-cous. Then we rehearsed,
having no music at all. I was supposed to sleep in one
small bed with drummer Han Bennink. Lucky enough he preferred
to sleep on the floor.
ERIC INEKE : (private mail,
I did some tours with Rene in 1972,
1973 and 1974. Most of the concerts where either trio
or quartet. Trio with bassist Henk Haverhoek, Quartet
with Henk and pianist Rein de Graaff. All the concerts
I remember were very inspiring. Rene always played great
from the first note on. A concert with the trio I specially
remember was at the Zwolse Guitaardagen in Zwolle, I
think it was 1973. Also the last concert we did in quartet
in Theater Pepijn in The Hague. Rene and his dauhgter
stayed over at my house and we played Scrabble. He was
a wonderful and very warm and shy person, I will always
NOEL AKCHOTE : (private mail,
Rene Thomas is, for me, an obviousness,
a real passion. Then, every 5 years, it gets the better
of me again and doesn't drop me ...
JOHN SCOFIELD : (private mail,
I've always liked him a lot. I got
Guitar Groove in about '70 and really learned a lot
from it .After that I got Dynasty by Getz when it came
out but the one I really loved was a Chet Baker album
from the 50's with a french rhythm section ... excellent
!! I never got to meet Rene or hear him play live but
I wish I had ! His lines are so bebop, I've really learned
a lot from him lately. He sounds like he used heavy
strings ; I know he got a lot from Jimmy Raney (I've
been listening to him too, another underated giant).
I met Jacques Pelzer years ago in Liege, what a great
guy ! And he spoke so admiringly about his old friend
! so again thanks for the great website !!